GDPR compliance stymies hypergrid travelers

After Europe’s new data privacy regulations, GDPR, went into effect on May 25, OpenSim users saw a flurry of requests from grid owners asking them to agree to new privacy policies. Sometimes, those messages would pop up in the middle of a hypergrid trip, hindering travel.
DigiWorldz, for example, has adopted a system that blocks users or prevent them from accessing the grid until they are able to agree to terms of service. This affects local and hypergrid users alike.
“We have implemented a system which, when a local user tries to login, or a hypergrid users tries to visit, we first check to see if they have authorized their avatar,” Terry Ford told Hypergrid Business. 
DigiWorldz grid now requires local and hypergrid visitors to first authorize the grid to access and collect information about their avatars and agree to TOS before accessing the grid. (Image courtesy David Kariuki.)
Clicking the provided link takes users to a web authorization page, and, after authorizing their avatars, they can then continue as usual. In theory.
In practice, some hypergrid users find it hard to access the grids either because they do not read instructions detailed on each page about the information they ought to provide or do not understand them at all, said Ford.
“If they do not enter the correct information, they will never get in,” he said.
But that formal approval step, especially for hypergrid visitors, might not be strictly necessary under GDPR, he added. “There are some interpretations of the GDPR which indicate since we are collecting minimal data, there is no need to specifically ask for it as it is required in order for our systems to function. Under these conditions, we only need to let the user know what we collect, how we use it, how long we keep it, and inform them of their rights to be forgotten, and allow them to have a copy of the data we have collected.”
Palace Museum at DigiWorldz grid. (Image courtesy David Kariuki.)
Other grids are also reporting that hypergrid visitors are having problems getting in.
Half of all hypergrid visitors to Craft-World did not click on the link to give consent, grid owner Raffaele Macis told Hypergrid Business shortly after the new policy went into effect. “It has only been three days and perhaps not a significant amount of time to talk about impact,” he added. “Some people need time to get used to new procedures.”
Craft World blocks access to account owners first time they come back after May 25, if they have not agreed to new terms. (Image courtesy David Kariuki.)
The DigiWorldz pop-up automatically directs users to the website when they click the OK button. Craft, however, requires them to right-click the links to to the page where they can agree to the new terms.
You are able to access Craft World on accepting terms of service. (Image courtesy David Kariuki.)
The high rejection for users leaving without giving consent could be because of a number of factors, Macis said. For instance, some people do not read the information presented on pop up windows and give up immediately when they see denial of teleport. “Some grid did not create a similar procedure, so people think, ‘I did not do this in my grid, why should I do it for another grid?’”
In addition, not all viewers have clickable links in their pop-up messages. Firestorm, the most popular viewer, does. Other viewers require users to copy the link, open their browser, and paste in the link manually.
“This is work, too much for some,” Macis said.
Great Canadian Grid also requires local and hypergrid users need to authorize their avatar to access or before they can login, according to its new terms of service for compliant to GDPR, grid owner Roderick MacDougall told Hypergrid Business. 
Baller Nation has also updated its policy to comply with GDPR. It requires users to authorize their avatar for local and hypergrid visitors.
All local users of both Openvue and AiLand, which are run by The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, have been notified and given contact information for the grid manager. A section has been added to the TOS to give grid manager contact details and to explain what is logged and for how long this is retained.
“Both grids have only a few local avatars who have regions and creator roles,” grid owner Austin Tate told Hypergrid Business. “Most use is it as an openly accessible hypergrid destination.
Snikygrid, which is located in Germany, also posted a message to users about the changes in policy and TOS including the fact that their IP addresses, Media Access Control addresses, usernames, passwords and optionally, e-mail addresses are collected and stored securely to facilitate provision of services.
Some grids went even further than just updating their terms of services and requiring consent.
GreekLife, in addition to adding a new approval step for visitors, also did a grid restart to delete all historical logging data just to be on the safe side.
“GreekLife never saved any real information, just email for news and grid updates, all payments are made with the security of PayPal so nothing changed,” a GreekLife spokesperson told Hypergrid Business.
GreekLife now require those signing up for an account to give consent to the grid to collect information about their avatars. (Image courtesy David Kariuki.)
TangleGrid, citing “crazy European bureaucracy,” sent out notices three weeks in advance asking users to agree to the new terms or have their accounts deleted.
“This condition garnered responses from many members who have not logged into the grid for a very long time,” Tangle Grid co-owner “Ballistic Pixel” — who has left for DigiWorld a few days ago — told Hypergrid Business. “The only negative responses — at times rude — were from a few customers who had not logged in over a year. They couldn’t be bothered then — they can’t be bothered now. Most customers have responded expediently with agreeing to our new TOS and privacy statements.”
Tanglegrid’s Expo Isle region. The grid does not bar users from accessing it through viewers even if they have

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